• Peter Bateman
    Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton has provided the year's most colourful quote about health & safety.
    In an extensive report (paywalled) in the NZ Herald, Dalton is said to have declined the opportunity to attend a seminar to identify risks for the America's Cup event scheduled to be held in Auckland next year.
    His emailed response to the invitation was [with Herald redactions]:
    "I would rather staple my c*** to a burning building [than] attend a health and safety briefing - are you kidding me, that would be the most f****** boring arse-covering load of mind-numbing bullocks [sic] ever invented."
    I laughed out loud when I read this. Then I felt guilty - was I laughing at him or with him?
    Sometimes it can be hard to tell.
  • Andrew
    And that's why Team NZ are winners.
  • PaulReyneke
    And we are surprised why our 'profession' is not held in high regard. Some of the stuff I sometimes read (even on this forum) makes me cringe - "arse-covering load of mind-numbing bullocks (sic)".
  • MattD2
    Some of the stuff I sometimes read (even on this forum) makes me cringePaulReyneke
    I always cringe when at any conference or similar event the MC always starts with
    "First let's just get the usual H&S stuff out of the way..."
    "fire exits..." - ok
    "evacuation assembly point..." - alright
    "toilets..." - yeah, good to know
    "break times..." - hmmmmm
    "morning tea / lunch will be a buffet of..." - huh?
    "parking will be validated..." - wait, what? When did getting free parking become part of safety?

    A big part of the issue is a lot of what is perceived to be related to H&S is actually just H&S being used as an easy out to justify something needing to be done without actually having to justify it, aren't we are all sick of hearing "we can do XYZ because of H&S"
  • Leah Fry
    How about going to a safety awards evening when MC's joke is "hands up all H&S advisors" followed up by the punch line of "everybody f***ing hates you!" Joking ... but again did we laugh at or with?
  • Aaron Marshall

    Yeah, and often these are given at a building that is 90% of the time occupied by member of the public who don't receive (or need) this info.
    All public occupied building have evac schemes developed at the building design stage with the assumption of occupants not having this info. So, what is being achieved with the 'usual H&S stuff'?
  • Amy Richards
    Lol, Grant Dalton has raced maxi yachts in the worlds most dangerous ocean dodging icebergs – 7 times! Grant raced in a time when the first women’s yacht entry were not expected to make it past the Canary Islands. If you are familiar with the Maiden story, H&S was used a front for more sinister means. The same carry on happened when Jessica Watson set out on her adventure. And ya know what, they smashed it! He has been around sailors who have set epic goals, challenged the status quo, taken risks, and have become inspirations and legends in their own right. The leadership skills of a skipper needs to be top notch to keep crew mentally, physically, and emotionally safe in the worlds harshest climates making split second decisions, it’s of the highest level. So I can understand his reaction when asked to sit thru a hazard meeting.

    In saying all that, given his status and OBE, he didn’t need to be so rude.

    So, Mr Dalton, I send you another H&S invite. I invite you to my yacht on the 11th November at Westhaven (its berthed only 50m from the RNZYS) come on down, I’ll pour you a rum, and let’s talk about how can the concepts of ocean racing be brought across to the everyday workforce. What lessons from operating in one of the world’s most unforgiving climates can be utilised to be benefit of every single NZer who heads off to work every single day. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    …hmmm this could turn into a social media campaign!
  • MattD2
    So I can understand his reaction when asked to sit thru a hazard meeting.Amy Richards
    I expect that he's had to sit through a number of them in the past... and I can imagine him thinking in them " are we here to manage risk or do we just care about the liability?"
  • Andrew
    My money is on him thinking how to race a boat.
  • Steve H
    My money would be on Grant figuring out smart ways to ensure his team follows the first rule of yacht racing, get in front, second rule; stay in front. Rule three? see rules one and two :grin:
  • PaulReyneke
    The below is not a reflection on the responses above - I think you already understand the irony.

    To continue the discussion though, look at some of the topics we 'discuss' on here: how do we reward/pay Safety Reps, should people sign the minutes of a safety meeting, e-scooters in the workplace, the myriad unit standard training on all sorts of obscure topics, are ISO audits useful or not, etc. Is safety a profession or not!

    I am regularly astonished how little safety 'professionals' know about change management, human behaviour, basic engineering principles and the other principles underpinning what we do. How can you bring about change if you have no base to work from? How can we get the Grant Daltons - and there are many of them out there - listen to us if we cannot with any authority talk about why and how we will achieve a particular outcome?

    We can forget to ever have sapiential authority, where people who are experts in their fields want our inputs, where they see us as adding to theirs by the wisdom we bring.
  • Trudy Downes
    Love this!

    I have come to the conclusion that many people don't know about change management (organisational rather than project). But it is powerful stuff in the H&S field and I have found it a very successful way to get people on board.

    Our jobs should be to get people to think and communicate... and then health and safety will be an outcome from there if we get the other management ducks lined up in a row as well.
  • Tony Watson
    Yep, I hear where Grant is coming from...

    I work in a sector (Agriculture) where 'H&S' is definitely a tainted brand and plenty of farming folk share his sentiments, often less eloquently...

    They know the folders and a few signs make no difference at all - yet somehow they think they need these to 'prove to WorkSafe' they're taking health and safety seriously.
    Reality is, farmers have more chance of being killed on the job than being prosecuted by WorkSafe, or more chance of being injured than receiving a notice of any kind.

    We're looking at how we can tap into this idea (Grant's thinking) by making sure farmers are crystal clear on the things that can injure or kill them - and get them to realise it's the decisions they make in relation to these things that matter (even if they've done the thing a thousand times)

    Add in a few higher level controls eg seatbelts on tractors, utes and side-buy-sides, and I reckon we'll make a difference.

    Would love to better understand how we can do this in a farm friendly way ie avoiding H&S speak ("higher level controls"), without diluting the meaning. Thoughts?
  • Tony Watson
    Yep, this sounds about right!

    I don't have an H&S background but I do see good operators (farmers, contractors on farm etc) with safety built into every day activities, not as a separate thing. To them, it's just stuff that makes sense - they don't want breakdowns in people or machinery and they put things in place to get the result they're after.

    Seem to get much more traction when we're talking about better business performance not H&S per se (with the associated collective rolling of eyes!)
  • Peter Bateman
    Sounds like farmers would appreciate a Safety-II approach: talk to them about their work (not about H&S) and then ask some questions around what frustrates them, what work-arounds they have to take and in which circumstances, etc. So you can demonstrate your interest in their work and that your motivation is to help make it better.
  • Tony Watson
    You're right there Peter, can almost sense the visible relief when they expect H&S speak, but hear someone talking 'commonsense'.

    I reckon the challenge is finding a way to get farmers into a habit of doing this themselves ie stop and take a moment to ask themselves these questions when they're often working alone and 'too busy'.

    Any ideas?
  • Peter Bateman
    Mind you, the prospect of asking Grant Dalton what frustrates him is a bit daunting.
  • Peter Scanlan
    Grant Dalton's attitude is funny. But if one of his crew died due to a H&S process going wrong, the laughing would stop real quick. Dalton does not need to attend the briefing, but I hope he does not take that attitude if one of his staff wants to raise a H&S matter with him...
Add a Comment

Welcome to the Safeguard forum!

If you are interested in workplace health & safety in New Zealand, then this is the discussion forum for you.